Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bite force links from PubMed

Bite club: comparative bite force in big biting mammals and the prediction of predatory behaviour in fossil taxa. Published in 2005, full article available.

Interactions between jaw-muscle recruitment and jaw-joint forces in Canis familiaris. Published in 1989, full article available.

Interesting stuff, though not sufficiently dog bite-related for a place in the sidebar. These links will continue to be accessible via the "bite force" category.

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Virtual housekeeping

No drastic changes, but I've reorganized the site layout and other features in order to make everything more user-friendly. The new search feature is from Google's Blogger Beta in Draft, and it's terrific. I've removed the SnapShots feature. Categories [labels] have been edited and expanded.

Dog Bites: Information and Statistics was begun in November 2007, and within a month was appearing among the first twenty results for dog bite and dog attack statistics using Google Search -- often in the first ten, and occasionally at the top. I welcome the visits and the responsibility.

The words I wrote in the first post are as heartfelt today as ever:

I'm not interested in cherry-picking studies to make specific breeds look good or bad: in fact, I believe the "safe breed"/"dangerous breed" dichotomy is one of the reasons dog bites are as common as they are. The aim of Dog Bites: Information and Statistics is to counter the ignorance and urban legend surrounding the topic by providing the most factual and up-to-date statistics on dog bites and dog attacks.
The purpose of this site is to provide easy access to solid research on dog bites: to provide links to peer-reviewed studies and reports from the most respected sources. A narrow focus, but an important one, and I look forward to adding more studies from the U.S. and abroad. Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Canine bite force

I've added a PubMed study on canine bite force, the only one of its type that I've been able to find: Measurement of bite force in dogs: a pilot study.

The abstract:

A force transducer was developed to measure bite force in dogs. A total of 101 readings was obtained from 22 pet dogs ranging in size from 7 to 55 kg. Bite forces ranged from 13 to 1394 Newtons with a mean for all dogs of 256 Newtons and a median of 163 Newtons. Most measurements fell within the low end of the range, with 55% of the biting episodes less than 200 Newtons and 77% less than 400 Newtons.
1 newton = 0.224808943 pounds force, so 1394 newtons would be 313.38 pounds force, according to The dogs in the study ranged in weight from 15.4 lb to 121 lb.

From an Animal Planet news story:
Sept. 15, 2003 — Cheetahs chomp hard and even humans can bite through an ear, but one animal reigns supreme when it comes to possessing the strongest bite — the alligator.

American alligators, Alligator mississippiensis, have the most powerful bite force ever measured. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Zoology of London, alligators snap their strong jaws shut with a force of 2,125 pounds, or with about as much force as a mid-size sedan falling on top of someone.
"Bite force is linked to the size of an animal," explained Kent Vliet, a University of Florida zoologist who headed up the study. "Since the report was published, we measured the bite of a wild gator, even bigger than Hercules at 13 1/2 feet in length missing the end of his tail. He bit down with a force of 2,960 pounds."
To put the record measurement into perspective, hyenas, which are bone-crushing mammals, have a bite force of 1,000 pounds, slightly more than the 940 recorded for lions. Dusky sharks manage 330 pounds of force, and a common dog, the Labrador, bites with 125 pounds of force. Humans surprisingly beat out the pet dog, and measured in at 170 pounds of force.
When Brady Barr measured the bite force of various animals for a National Geographic program, a hyena again was measured at 1000 psi pounds of force. A lion's bite force measured 691, a shark 669, and a Rottweiler 328 psi pounds of force. A German shepherd came in at 238, and a pit bull's bite was measured at 235 psi pounds of force. As far as I can tell, there are no studies of any kind, peer-reviewed or not, showing canine bite force to measure more than the 328 psi pounds of force recorded by Brady Barr. If you know of any, please share.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Other dog bite / dog attack articles

I often run across dog bite articles and related sites on the internet that may be entirely factual, but lack references.

From time to time I'll post links to some of those sites on the other blog. The stats may be accurate, but without documentation of sources and clear information on the nature of the studies that produced the statistics, you might want to take their numbers with a grain [or more] of salt.

Caveat lector. Just because it's on the internet doesn't make it gospel.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Honored, humbled, inspired [treating self to Starbucks]

This site is now listed on the blogroll at Pet Connection:

the online home of the weekly pet-care feature syndicated to newspapers, magazines and Web sites throughout the United States and Canada by Universal Press Syndicate.

But we're more than a pet column, as we hope you'll find out exploring our Web site. We're best-selling books on pet care, and we're a popular pet-related Web log. You can search our archives for answers to your pet questions, and check out some helpful links we've collected.
Thanks to Gina Spadafori and the Pet Connection crew for this recognition.

I've added the year of publication, in brackets, to all of the PubMed studies listed here.

A search for "dog bite" on PubMed will bring up a number of abstracts which deal with individual cases and their treatment by surgeons [for example]. Breed of dog is rarely mentioned in these abstracts, and since the articles do not constitute studies of multiple dog bites within a specific population, they are not included on this site. This abstract is an example.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dog Bite Prevention

The single most important action to prevent dog bites is the most obvious, though not always the easiest one: parental supervision of young children around all dogs, including the family dog.

The single most important thing to read -- and I wish every dog owner would read it -- is Chapter 3 [Socialization, Fear and Aggression] of Jean Donaldson's classic book on dog training, The Culture Clash. This chapter could save a child's life. I can't emphasize enough how important the information in this chapter is for parents and dog owners.

This site is meant to be a collection of the most factual and authoritative studies on dog bites. Of course all the studies posted here were carried out in an effort to learn more about dog bites in order to prevent them --- see the PubMed article on child swings, for example.

So while dog bite prevention is a paramount concern, a collection of links to the internet's many dog bite prevention articles is, as they say, beyond the scope of this site. The primary exception is the definitive report by the Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions, listed in the AVMA section of the sidebar.

Both the AVMA and the CDC have pages on dog safety. The SFSPCA has excellent pages on dog aggression and dogs and kids, as well as information [and on-site classes] designed to help introduce the family dog to a new baby. Dog Bite Law, a huge site I plan to link to and discuss, has material on dog bite prevention as well. For a community approach to dog bite prevention, the AVMA report is unsurpassed. I hope visitors to this site will take advantage of all the links in this post.

[There is a permanent link to this post in the sidebar.]

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

"The dogs most likely to bite"

The CDC has never issued a report or press release naming "the types of dogs most likely to bite," nor has the CDC ever released a list of dogs they consider "highest risk."

From the CDC:

"There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill."

"There are several reasons why it is not possible to calculate a bite rate for a breed or to compare rates between breeds. First, the breed of the biting dog may not be accurately recorded, and mixed-breed dogs are commonly described as if they were purebreds. Second, the actual number of bites that occur in a community is not known, especially if they did not result in serious injury. Third, the number of dogs of a particular breed or combination of breeds in a community is not known, because it is rare for all dogs in a community to be licensed, and existing licensing data is then incomplete. [Source: AVMA Task Force on Canine Aggression]
When in doubt, call the CDC or the AVMA and ask.

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